THURSDAY, Sept. 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Poor periodontal health and tooth loss are associated with increased risks for cognitive decline and dementia, according to a review published online Sept. 8 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Sam Asher, M.P.H., from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the available longitudinal evidence to examine the association between periodontal health and cognitive decline. A total of 2,132 studies for cognitive decline and 2,023 for dementia were identified; 47 (24 for cognitive decline and 23 for dementia) were included in the review.

The researchers found that poor periodontal health, as indicated by having periodontitis, tooth loss, deep periodontal pockets, or alveolar bone loss, was associated with cognitive decline (odds ratio, 1.23) and dementia (hazard ratio, 1.21). There was an independent association seen for tooth loss with an increased risk for cognitive decline (odds ratio, 1.23) and dementia (hazard ratio, 1.13). Partial tooth loss was important for cognitive decline (odds ratio, 1.50), while complete tooth loss was important for dementia (hazard ratio, 1.23). The overall evidence quality was low; reverse causality at least partially explained the associations.

“Our findings emphasize the importance of monitoring and management of periodontal health in the context of dementia prevention, although the available evidence is not yet sufficient to point out clear ways for early identification of at-risk individuals, and the most efficient measures to prevent cognitive deterioration,” the authors write.

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